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HRD panel to submit recommendations by Friday on conducting NEET, JEE amid COVID-19 surge

Parents of nearly 4,000 NRI students based in West Asia also filed a petition in the SC demanding the NEET be postponement.

Published: 02nd July 2020 08:22 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd July 2020 08:48 AM   |  A+A-

Students

For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Amid rising demands that the nationwide entrance examinations for engineering and medical colleges scheduled later this month be further postponed, the Union Human Resources Development Ministry has asked a panel under the National Testing Agency director general to submit its recommendations by Friday.

As per an announcement made in May, the Centre had said that Joint Entrance Examination (Main) that acts as a gateway to engineering colleges across India, including the IITs, will be held between July 18 and July 23.

The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for admission to medical and dental colleges had been shifted to July 26. Both these tests are conducted by the NTA under the HRD ministry.

Given the unabated rise in the Covid-19 cases in most parts of the country, thousands of students, parents and student groups have expressed concerns over the risk factor if the candidates are forced to appear in the exams.

“We have received a number of requests saying the test dates be deferred further. We understand the concern students and parents have,” said HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank on Thursday.

He added that the committee under the NTA DG has been deliberating over the issue and will submit the final suggestions by Friday. Sources in the ministry said Nishank had also met Home Minister Amit Shah and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan over the issue last week.

“Both these examinations are likely to be deferred again as it looks difficult to manage and ensure adequate physical distance when lakhs of students across thousands of examination centres will write the tests,” said an official.

“These delays in examinations will badly derail admission processes but that looks inevitable in the current scenario.” Due to delay in JEE (Main), the schedule for JEE (Advanced) organised by the IITs has also not been planned yet.

Last week, the Centre had announced that the pending CBSE Class X and XII exams were being cancelled and an alternative scoring system was adopted. It, however, said optional exams for class XII could be held later, when conducive.

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